I am looking for the name of a short story by a renowned sf writer where world violence and wars were eradicated by introducing pacific soccer-like competition around the world. But, as time passes, the competition became more and more aggresive with introduction of new rules and weapon systems and ended up in a global war.
It's a short novel from Bernard Werber in "[L'arbre des possible]" ("The Tree of Possibilities" in English) and titled "Du Pain et des Jeux" ("Of Bread and Circuses")
Couldn't find an english site talking about it but this is the summary from the French wikipedia page:
Du pain et des jeux : dans le futur, afin de développer l'économie, divertir les gens et mettre fin aux guerres et à tous les conflits politiques, le football se développe pour se transformer en un sport extrême et mortel
Roughly translated, that comes out to:
Of Bread and Circuses: In the future, due to developments in the economy, soccer is used to resolve all wars and political struggles, but has turned into an extreme and deadly sport.
IIRC: soccer has become so popular that countries used it to solve their conflicts without killing anyone. The game was considered a little too simple so the federation changed the rules, augmenting the numbner of player, the field size (adding bunker, trees, lakes... to augment the strategy), letting players build a complex strategy, build fortifications, etc... eventually authorising players to kill each others
Finnaly, soccer matchs became a sort of mini war (with spies, missiles, traps, etc) watched by nearly all earthling on tv...
The full text of the book (the short story is page 132) in french : http://frekb.ru/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/9-french-Werber-Bernard-Larbre-Des-Possibles.pdf